City clerk weighs in on ‘early’ election signs seen in city
Over the last 10 days a number of Kawartha Lakes residents have contacted the Advocate to ask for clarification about the rules that govern the placement of campaign signs for this fall’s municipal election. Most thought that signs were appearing much too early for a vote that doesn’t occur until Oct. 24 and wondered if there are rules in place regarding signage.
“Signs have been up in my ward for more than a month,” questioned Sue Johnson, who identified as a resident of Ward 5. “It seems awful early to me.”
Hugh Pinder, who identified as a voter in Ward 3 wondered the same thing, asking if candidates weren’t jumping the gun “during the dog days of summer.”
“I expected signs after Labour Day, but early July seems silly to me,” Pinder said in a message left with The Advocate.
In an exchange of emails with the city clerk’s office, The Advocate discovered that there are there very specific rules in place controlling where and when signs can be placed, and that the signs that have appeared in Ward 3 and Ward 5, if properly placed, are totally legal.
“The election sign by-law says that signage may appear on public property and highways from August 25 to October 29, and signage may appear on private property from the date of the candidate’s nomination to October 29,” the city clerk said.
Calls to commercial print shops in Kawartha Lakes indicate that this could be the calm before the storm, as multiple municipal candidates have already placed their orders and picked up their signs, waiting for what their campaign believes is the opportune time to place them.
“Candidates this election round seem to be putting more of their limited funding into signage,” reported one print shop owner who requested anonymity because he does work for multiple council candidates. “I think with so few incumbents declared that this campaign will be a battle for name recognition, and lawn signs on actual people’s homes go a long way to spreading that you are a serious candidate.”
“Any candidates who wait too long to get their orders in may have an issue as there have been spot shortages of coroplast and card stock used for signs, mailings and brochures on-going for more than 6 months,” the printer added. “After a federal and provincial election this year the cupboards are bare in a number of areas. I am aware that some print shops in the GTA are completely out of stock and turning candidates and their all-important business away.”